May 2017

Flintshire child rapist jailed for 12 years after months on the run

A child rapist who went on the run for 16 months and was the subject of a nationwide appeal has been jailed for 12 years today.

Michael Philip Leaberry, 36, was initially arrested and bailed but failed to turn up for further questioning.

Police then issued a public appeal to trace him, including an appeal on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme.

A tip-off from a member of the public led to his arrest in Bournemouth in February.

He had tricked authorities there into believing that he was a victim of modern slavery.

Using the false name of Michael Kemp, he was provided with accommodation in Grosvenor Gardens after he said he fled to the resort for his own safety.

The truth was that the former garage worker, who lived at Saltney in Flintshire, was wanted on child rape offences in North Wales.

He fled after initial questioning by detectives about the oral rape of a girl aged under 10.

A judge at Mold Crown Court told him today that his decision to abscond had simply added to the trauma suffered by his very young victim and her family, who had allowed him to babysit.

He was ordered to register with the police as a sex offender for the rest of his life and was made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

The defendant admitted oral rape, sexual assault and incitement, and was told by Judge Rhys Rowlands: “How anyone could view a child this young as a sexual object is quite shocking.”

She was very young and particularly vulnerable and he had engineered a situation where he could be left alone with her, the court heard.

He had been “at large” between September 2015 and the beginning of this year.

Leaberry, who had never been in any trouble before, was described as a high risk of harm to young children.

Prosecuting barrister Simon Rogers said Leaberry initially denied six offences and a trial had been fixed.

But he then admitted three offences and the others remained on the file.

The defendant persuaded a couple who rarely went out to allow him to babysit the victim, telling them he had been an au pair, a nanny and a carer for elderly people.

But the girl later told her mother what had happened.

She said he had wanted her to play a game where he would get her to “touch his bits” and he touched her.

He would ask her if she would like to do different things and carried on even when she said no.

She felt sad and initially told no one.

He was arrested and interviewed, and bailed to return to Wrexham police station in September 2015.

He failed to do so, and in November he was circulated as missing and a public appeal was launched.

In a victim impact statement, the mother said the fact that he later absconded had put the family through hell.